Need a loan for your international master’s degree? Whether you already have an admit or you’re expecting it any day now, you’ll need to work quickly to secure your study visa.
And, there’s no time to waste, so let’s dive in.
Where can I get the best education loan for an MS degree in the US?
In principle, Indian students have 4 options to get an education loan to study abroad:
- Domestic banks.
- Non-banking financial companies (NBFCs).
- US banks.
- International lenders, like Prodigy Finance.
Each one offers different benefits and is worth a closer look.
Education loans from domestic banks
Domestic banks are typically the first place you’ll look for an education loan to study abroad. In India, for example, a few banks known for their overseas study loans. According to Forbes, these are the best educational loans in India for 2023 for banks
- State Bank of India (SBI)
- HDFC Bank
- Punjab National Bank
- Bank of Baroda
- Axis Bank
- Oriental Bank of Commerce
In some countries, including India, you can get a foreign education loan from a domestic bank for the equivalent of USD 5600 without a guarantor. At the same banks, you might get a loan for up to USD 10,500 without security. But, you could expect a 15% margin money requirement on an education loan for abroad studies.
Loan size is often the biggest difference between domestic banks in countries like India. Some cap their student loans at the equivalent of USD 28K, some have an upper limit of USD 70K and a few have no upper limit if you can prove the funds are needed for your degree.
If you’re able to meet the requirements for security, guarantors, and margin money, consider loans from these providers as they may be the most cost-effective for your studies.
Getting an education loan for your MS in the USA involves a lot of paperwork. You should be aware that some universities in the US, such as MIT, require loan confirmation letters (which Indian banks call sanction letters) stating the loan amount in USD only. Before getting a loan for your higher education abroad, check whether this is a requirement for your university and whether your bank can provide the figures in USD, even if your loan is issued in a different currency.
Education loans from NBFCs (non-banking financial companies)
Non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) offer a local alternative to domestic banks. Using India as our example, you’ll find that popular NBFCs include*:
Because these entities are governed differently than their banking counterparts, they offer higher loan amounts (up to the full cost of attendance) with low to zero margin money, providing an option for students that aren’t able to produce the 15% minimum margin money required by traditional banks.
Additionally, the processing speed of these loans is typically faster than traditional banks, making NBFCs solid options for students who need to prove financial capacity quickly.
An NBFC in India for education loans may require a guarantor or security for loans over a certain amount. You may find that the rules regarding who can co-sign or the type of security needed are more relaxed than traditional banks, but you may see a difference in interest rates as a result.
Don’t forget to double-check your school’s proof of funding requirements if your education loan is issued in a different currency.
Education loans from US-based lenders
Typically, American universities provide international students with a list of local loan providers. International students are often presented with higher interest rates on education loans for studying abroad compared to American citizens or permanent residents. However, US interest rates are usually lower than you’ll find in other parts of the world.
Education loans here often extend up to the full Cost of Attendance (CoA), and they’re given in USD, making it easy for universities to issue that all-important I-20 form.
There is one critical piece to this puzzle: you’ll need a US guarantor to get an education loan from a US bank. However, there aren’t any familial requirements as you would find in other countries; your guarantor can be a trusted friend or distant relative and doesn’t have to be a family member.
Finally, education loans in the US don’t require security or margin money.
Education loans from international lenders
International lenders are often non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and loan amounts vary between lenders. You may find minimum loan amounts as well as caps on loan amounts, but many offer loans up to 100% of your Cost of Attendance. Margin money isn’t a requirement for international lenders, but you’ll still need to prove full-funding to your university and immigration officials.
International lenders seldom require security, though you may find a few that require a guarantor. Interest rates are typically competitive but vary based on the base rate lenders use, as well as your financial history.
One benefit you’ll find with international lenders is the almost universal ability to secure your loan in USD for American schools. For example, an education loan in the USA for Indian students will typically be provided in USD and not INR.
Prodigy Finance is one such international lender that saw the struggle students go through to fund their courses at global universities and set out to tackle this problem. That’s why our education loans directly address the concerns of international students. It wasn’t an easy problem to solve - but we found a way.
Want to know more about Prodigy Finance education loans?
Who is Prodigy?
The reason behind the name is because we are passionate about driving education for everyone. If you do not have the means to study, we would like to help. Our belief is that funding shouldn’t be a barrier to education and this sits at the core of Prodigy Finance’s operations. Visit our Prodigy FAQs for more information.
Prodigy Finance provides Student Loans for International And Study Abroad Students loans pursuing masters in business, engineering, law, and public policy degrees.
Education loan eligibility criteria
The Prodigy Finance education loan eligibility guidelines ensure that candidates will need to meet select criteria in order to apply for a loan:
- The candidate must be admitted to a school and programme we support. We support an extensive list of schools which can be found on our website.
- He/she must must be looking to study abroad.
- The age of the candidate must be over 18.
- He/she must be undergoing a postgraduate degree such as Masters.
- Remember, you can apply for a quote before you have an admittance letter - we'll only ask for proof of admission when we finalize your loan.
- Students must reside in one of the countries we support. You can find a list of countries we can't support here.
Click here for a full review of Prodigy Finance Terms and Conditions.
Prodigy Finance Education Loan Documents
Here are the documents that a student needs to provide to Prodigy Finance once a loan offer has been Provisionally Accepted:
1. Proof of Identity: The first step of the verification process is to take a picture of your face and provide this as Proof of your Identity.
2. Proof of Residence: Recent copy of Telephone Bill/Gas Bill or copy of Aadhaar Card
3. Proof of Admission: An Offer Letter or Admission Letter from the Institution/University.
4. A Credit Report: We’ll need a copy of your credit report that summarises your credit history and must be prepared by a credit reference agency of a specific country. Read this article to learn more about uploading your latest credit report.
What is the maximum loan amount you can get for studying abroad?
Prodigy Finance loans can start from a minimum of USD 10,000.00 and, depending on the course, we can offer a maximum of up to 100% cost of attendance which includes living expenses and tuition costs.
There is no limit set by banks for offering educational loans to students wanting to study abroad. There are bank that may offer of up to INR 10-40 lakhs or USD 10,000.00 to USD 60,000.00.
How can I increase my Student Loan amount?
If you want to increase the amount of your loan, you will need to reach out to us on firstname.lastname@example.org or you can submit a new Free Application. You can also apply for top up loans if you are an existing borrower.
What countries do you support?
Prodigy Finance loans are available to students from roughly 150 countries. Students from the UK can also apply for loans for study in the UK.
What Schools Do You Support?
Prodigy Finance supports about 850 schools in over 18 different countries.
Search our list of over 850 schools in 18 different countries where we support the following courses:
- Public Policy
- Health Sciences
Not every programme is supported at every university; you’ll need to check both the university and your course of study.
Our school search page will help you find if we support the college and course you are interested in, or can help you explore all the schools we support.
Features and Benefits of Prodigy Finance Education loans
Unlike traditional lenders, Prodigy Finance doesn’t look only at your financial history. We do that, of course; but, more importantly, we consider the impact your master’s degree will have on your future earnings. Our proprietary-risk model accounts for the larger salary you’ll earn after your degree.
No co-signer loans: You will never be asked for a co-signer, nor will anyone else be contacted if there are problems with your loan.
No collateral loans: There’s no need to come up with your property or anyone else’s, as per global student loan norms.
Swift, fully-online process- The application process takes less than 30 minutes
Wide choice of repayment terms: You can choose repayment terms ranging from 7 to 20 years.
Loans for tuition and living costs: Prodigy Finance can assist with loans which covers tuition and living expenses ( depending on the course ) up to 100% of the cost of attendance.
Repayments starts once course is finished: For full time courses, we give you a grace period which includes your study period plus an additional 6 months after your class end date.
Student Loan Repayments and Grace Period
With a Prodigy Finance loan, repayment begins after a grace period which typically includes the period of your study as well as a few additional months (so you can focus on getting a new job and relocation).
Prodigy Finance grace periods:
Full-time students: 6 months from the class end date.
Part-time students: 3 months from the final disbursement date.
Read more about how students repay and settle their loans early as well as further information into our repayment process.
You’ll know within a week whether you qualify - and the amount of your provisional loan offer. Our customers study at the best global institutions and find work with some of the world’s biggest brands 3 to 6 months after graduation.
A Prodigy Finance education loan never requires security or guarantors and doesn’t use margin money. Plus, funds are sent directly to the university in USD - according to their due dates.
If you plan to take advantage of the OPT extension to remain in the US for work experience, you can repay your education loan easily through the Prodigy Finance app linked to your US bank account - and your education loan will help you build credit.
You can apply entirely online in just 30 minutes to see what rate you would qualify for.
International student loan blogs
You can browse through some of our blogs which offer more information about the loan process:
- Finance 101 - For everything you need to know about how to fund your studies
- How Prodigy Finance loans work - See exactly how the process works
- How much loan amount can I get - Find out how much loan amount you can qualify for
Find out how you can fund your masters education all by yourself.
Prodigy Finance Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Post updated for accuracy and freshness on February 19, 2020. Originally published on December 6, 2019.
*As disclosed on the websites of each of these banking institutions and non-banking financial companies as at 6 December 2019.
Prodigy Finance representative example of Annual Percentage Rate:
- Loan size: USD 40,000
- Variable interest rate: 8.7% plus 3-month USD LIBOR (LIBOR varies over the duration of the loan). As of 1st January 2021, USD LIBOR is 0.2%
- Admin fee: 5%
- Duration: Repayment period of 10 years with a grace period of 6 months from the end of studies
- Total amount payable: USD 75,722
- Representative APR: 10% (APR FAQs)
- Monthly amount due: USD 631
Prodigy Finance supports 1128 schools, 356 universities in 20 countries.
- Gabelli School of Business
- Georgetown University: Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
- Illinois Institute of Technology: College of Computing
- Kent State University: Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship
- Lamar University: College of Arts and Science
- New Jersey Institute Of Technology: Newark College of Engineering
- New Jersey Institute Of Technology: Ying Wu College of Computing
- Northern Arizona University: School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems
- Northern Illinois University: College of Business
- Pace University: Seidenberg School of Computer Science & Information Systems
- University Of Cincinnati: College of Education, Criminal Justice, Human Services and IT
- University Of Cincinnati: College of Engineering and Applied Science
For any other information about Prodigy Finance, or our student loan process, required documents or other information like how to obtain credit report, feel free to check out or browse our site, or register for a webinar to have your questions answered by one of our team.